“My motto when I play is Colossians 3:23, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,'” TCU junior right fielder Brance Rivera said after No. 14 TCU’s 7-6 loss to the Houston Cougars– one of the Frogs most testing losses of the season in which TCU (13-8) gave up six runs in the ninth to blow a 6-1 lead.
Rivera has more hits this year during the first inning of games than senior first baseman Joe Weik has had this entire season. Rivera blooped a single to right field in the first inning against Houston and was scored home by junior left fielder Jason Coats. While Weik has struggled a bit, this is not an indictment on Weik but rather a testimony of just how good Rivera has been so far this season.
The Frogs have played 21 games in 2011 and coming into tonight’s game vs. Houston (12-11), Rivera was riding a 20 game hitting streak. He wasted little time in extending his hit streak to 21 on the third pitch of the game. His streak is the third-longest since head coach Jim Schlossnagle took over the Frogs. Over the series at UNLV, twice Rivera led off the game with a home run.
Coming into the season, Rivera was often overshadowed in the press by others such as junior left fielder Jason Coats or senior second baseman Jerome Pena. However, it has been Rivera who has stepped up in the leadoff spot for the Frogs.
“[In the offseason] I just worked on getting bigger and getting stronger,” Rivera said. “I knew that would help me at the plate.”
Rivera continues to improve at the plate and show great plate discipline. As a leadoff hitter, Rivera is able to see several pitches per at-bat so the remainder of the lineup can adjust to the pitcher’s arsenal.
Every game and every day, Rivera wears a silver chain cross necklace which serves as a constant reminder of his faith. The junior right fielder relies heavily on his faith in the Lord throughout not just his shortcomings but his successes as well.
“As long as at the end of the day I feel like I gave it my all, and I wasn’t passive and I was confident and relied on the power of the Lord, whether I go 4-for-4 or 0-for-5, I feel good,” Rivera said.
As in all sports, some players struggle after tough losses, but by relying on his faith, Rivera said he can find solace that he did his best for the Lord.
You would be hard pressed to find a player who has been more valuable for the Frogs through this point of the season, and Rivera could easily be called the team’s MVP thus far.
TCU will look to bounce back tomorrow as they turn around quickly to play the Cougars again tomorrow. First pitch vs. Houston will be at 2 p.m. as Matt Purke (3-1)will be on the hill for the Frogs.